Wednesday, 23 January 2019

What Sparks Your Joy?

January is nearly behind us ... have you checked in with your New Year's resolutions?

My goal for 2019 was (and still is) to sew through my stash (and be happy about it!). It's interesting how quilters hang onto fabric. We are all a little guilty of starting and stopping projects, failing to execute others or not wanting to cut into pieces of beautiful fabric. I can see how over the years my tastes have changed by what is left in my stash box. Stores come out in force each January selling storage bins and supplies to organise your life.

If you have Netflix or follow any other social media, you may by now have heard about Marie Kondo. Marie is the author of the 2014 book 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing'. After reading this book a few months ago, I started to look at my belongings in a different way. Marie doesn't ask you to purge your things or look for things to throw out. She asks you to tidy according to category and look at what you want to keep. If you love something, keep it! Love it, show it off, use it. Don't keep something out of guilt or because you fear needing it in the future.

Marie also has a show on Netflix called 'Tidying Up With Marie Kondo". It's worth watching to just learn how to fold your sweaters. This show is like pornography for clean freaks!

The categories to tidy are:
Komono - miscellaneous items, household goods, kitchenware, garage etc.
Sentimental Items

Kondo's idea is to only keep items you love. Don't keep things 'just because' ...

Marie has clearly never met a quilter! This beautiful pile of red fabric sparks my joy! At one time, I kept it, folded secretly in a bin ... scared to cut it, scared to ruin it or pick the wrong project. Some of the pieces were purchased because they were on sale or intended for a different quilt that didn't materialize. 

When tidying and purging, they suggest you should go in order with these items .. start with clothes and move on ... don't start with your sentimental items like old photos or family heirlooms. Gather all of your clothes from all over the house and pile them up to get a good inventory and then go about folding and tidying. After doing this, I found I have three pairs of black golf shorts - all the same size and brand. I saw that I have Five. white t-shirts. Five. Who knew?

To be honest, my quilting fabric, patterns and tools overlap between the categories of Komono and sentimental items. I have left it for last. Over Christmas, I started a small clean-up of my sewing space and started a stash plan but have not really taken a bigger dive into it. I'm not ready.

Here is the before and after of Darby's drawers .. tiny clothes all crammed in her dresser all willy nilly! Secret messes hidden behind curtains, closets and closed drawers.

Thank you Marie!

People hang to items for different reasons. Many people fear the future and want to preserve the past (maybe without realizing it). Emotional attachments give us a sense of identity. Objects and brands can signal our membership into social groups (like all of the nurses I know who carry Coach bags and wear LuLu sweaters ... high end gang symbols). I think I hang onto things out of fear ... I may need it ... I don't want to ruin things ... some guilt ... my skinny, fat and just right jeans will tell more about this another day.

After doing some Kondo tidying this month, I was shocked at how many papers I had in the house ... receipts, lists, letters, cards ... and at how many spots I was stashing them. My favourite stow area was beside the coffee pot! When I gathered it all and put it in a bin, it was everywhere. (My hubby's favorite stow spot is under the visor in our car ... he calls it the 'policeman's purse')

It made me sad and guilty to see the books I had accumulated. Books I bought and never read or expensive text books never to be read again were all hard for me to part with. Again, I had books on the bookcase, in my bedside table, one in my purse, one in my work bag ... this does not include my quilting books or patterns. I haven't even touched my cookbooks! Again, they are stashed everywhere.

As they say ... one step at a time .... one stitch at a time ... hopefully, in my next post, you will see the start of a beautiful creation from my red stash! (hint, hint ... Valentine's Day is just around the corner!)



  1. I've been working on a big closet for several days, and it is in much better shape now since I got rid of a lot of sheer junk. However, I did run into a few problems with sentimental items I just couldn't part with --- yet! This was my first time to read your blog post, and I really did enjoy it! ---"Love"

  2. Thank you so much! I'm glad to know someone is reading!
    Give your sentimental items some time ... I put a bunch of my granny's tea cups in a box and hid them away for a month to see if I missed them ... I didn't! I kept 4 and donated the rest. I kept the 4 that gave her joy and they in turn give me joy ... it is a process though! I'm not mentally ready to completely tackle my sewing room yet! ~Sheri